Casey O’Callaghan has completed a renovation of greens at Yorba Linda Country Club near Anaheim, California.
“For the past few summers, the combination of warm weather, poa annua greens and high salt content in the water created great stress on the putting surfaces,” said O’Callaghan. “In addition to the club’s turfgrass concerns, many of the original ‘push up’ greens, which are over sixty years old, had steeper slopes that limited their pin placements.”
O’Callaghan felt that new USGA greens, Pure Distinction bentgrass, and a modified system for sub-surface aeration would address the turfgrass concerns. “I shared my vision for long, broad movements in the greens that tied in some of the existing golf course features,” he said. “The intent was to generally marry the style of the new greens to the character of the course while also allowing 90 per cent of the green to be pinnable.”
Eagle Golf Construction began work in April 2019 and by the end of August all eighteen greens on the course plus the putting and chipping greens had been renovated.
Throughout the renovation, golf course superintendent Elliot Weber and his crew maintained the course and temporary greens, as well as helping to manage and coordinate the project with the contractor.
“The new greens fit with the style and character of the existing layout,” said O’Callaghan. “However, we were able to enhance and add to the aesthetics, playability and strategy of the course. The contractor and their shaper Rod Page did an excellent job of marrying the new green complexes with the surrounding golf course features.”
General manager Rod Quintero says: “Casey O’Callaghan worked closely with the entire team here at club to create 18 interesting, fun and playable greens. Throughout the whole project Casey was generous with his time and clearly communicated his vision for our new greens. The entire membership is thrilled with the results!”
O’Callaghan says: “Each complex created different challenges. On many greens there was too much fall from front to back to just reshape the area within the greens. In these instances, we either lowered the back of the green slightly or raised the front of the green to achieve the proper slopes within the green. We worked closely with general manager Rod Quintero and head golf professional Matthew Kliner on the strategy and playability of the course. They gave valuable insight into how low, medium and high handicap golfers play the course. Furthermore, they also shared their thoughts on where well hit drives should be rewarded with a favourable approach angle to the green.”
O’Callaghan detailed some of the more notable changes to the course: “We reoriented the second green from front-left to back-right to reward well hit tee shots to the left side of the fairway,” he said. “Furthermore, we added a gentle ‘Biarritz’ swale element that bisects the front of the green from the back of the green.
“The next hole previously had stairs down a steeper slope to the green, which concentrated traffic to one portion of the green. We were able to eliminate the stairs and reshape the surrounding grades around the green to create a new punchbowl-style putting surface that is easy to access and creates a multitude of fun approach options for members.
“On the sixteenth, the green gets flooded during moderate to heavy rain events,” continued O’Callaghan. “The green runs from front-left to back-right. We were able to raise the green up and create a steeper tightly mown slope that guards the front portion of the green. Golfers who land short-right of the green have various options for playing a bump and run, flop shot, or putting on their recovery shots to the green.”